President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday denied that his administration has befriended China because of what the East Asian nation could give.
And despite having developed closer ties with China, Duterte said it did not mean that he has “abandoned” his relationship with the United States (US).
“They [China] offered to help. If the aid is coming, good. If not, okay lang rin sa akin (it’s okay with me) because we do not make friends in anticipation of what they can give us. That is stupid. We make friends because we just like to be friends,” he said in a meeting with his PDP-Laban party mates.
Duterte conveyed anew his gratitude to China for providing the country with Covid-19 vaccines, some of which were given for free.
He said China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines were the first brand of vaccines to arrive in the country last February.
“If your friend is kind to you, then be thankful. During the start of this contagion, we really don’t have vaccines). The other nations who are rich and who had reached the apex of their technology, they were the first to get vaccinated,” he added partly in Filipino.
As for the country’s relations with China, Duterte said: “I never abandoned our relationship with America. I never said anything that would hurt them,” he said, noting that his independent foreign policy of being “friend to all, enemy to none” stands.
He added that the Philippines would be put in much danger if war breaks out, considering the US is nearest to Chinese outposts in the South China Sea (SCS).
“The Filipinos must realize that Americans are here not because they want to defend us. This is their battleground. They’re here because instead of fighting it out in the state of California, they would rather do it here in the Philippines,” he said.